American Elephants


So Are We Reforming the Criminal Justice System And This Makes Sense? by The Elephant's Child

iStock_000006638558Small-lg— Aicheria Bell has been braiding hair since she was three years old, and she has been doing it professionally for more than 15 years.  She is unable to use that skill to support herself and her family because of “burdensome and arbitrary”  Iowa state regulations, and she has filed a lawsuit to challenge the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology. That board requires that hair braiders be licensed as full–fledged cosmetologists. The licensing process costs thousands, and requires 2,100 hours of training — more than 17 times than what’s required for a license as an Emergency Medical Technician. The Institute for Justice has taken on the case, saying “Iowa has no business licensing something as safe and common as hair braiding.” They argue that braiders are not cosmetologists, and don’t offer cosmological services, so they should not be subject to the same regulations.  In Iowa, braiding hair without a license in cosmetology is a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and civil fines as high as $10,000.

Professional organizations of those who have had special schooling to testify that they have some expertise in their occupation, are inclined to seek regulation that prohibits anyone without their schooling from competing with them. Here in Washington State, the Home Decorators have tried to prevent, legally, anyone who has not had formal decorator training from advising on home decor. So far they haven’t been able to get the law passed, but they keep trying.

—The “Fox-Butterfield Effect” is named for a hapless New York Times reporter who has been unable to understand why so many people are in prison when the crime rate has dropped so sharply. Cause and effect is hard to grasp. The crime rate had dropped significantly, but has started climbing again. The “Black Lives Matter” movement has meant that across the country, fewer recruits are applying to become policemen. After Ferguson, Baltimore and New York, when police were accused of unnecessary brutality, police officers are avoiding any situations where they might be attacked, or unjustly accused of using unnecessary force. The number of policemen killed in the line of duty is climbing, as well. Policemen risk their lives every day to keep ordinary citizens safe.

The Washington Post has just conducted a massive survey of police shootings, and found that virtually all of them are justified. The White House, which has contributed to the problem, claims there’s “no evidence” to support the FBI Director’s recent statements about a “Ferguson effect” hampering police work. Data shows that police morale and arrests are down in St. Louis, Baltimore, New York, Seattle and other cities where police are under siege, while crime is up dramatically. In 2014 there were 1,918 fewer stops of black drivers compared to 2013, and 624 fewer arrests.

—President Obama has executed the largest mass release of federal prisoners. He is going farther with an executive order that moves the box that must be checked on an employment form to indicate if the applicant has a criminal record to the end of the form, so it will not be so apparent that the applicant is a felon. 6,000 prisoners serving convictions for drug offenses will be released. (Contrary to claims that there are many in prison for smoking pot, these are incarcerated for dealing or selling drugs). On the other hand, a man has been sent to Federal Prison for overfishing. A Long Island commercial fisherman caught too many fluke, and it is claimed that he lied about it to the feds. They went after Anthony Jospeh for “Fisheries Fraud.” He has been sentenced to seven months in prison, a $603,000 fine and three years of supervised release following incarceration.

I don’t know. I would be much more disturbed by 6,000 drug dealers on the streets than by Mr. Josopeh supervised or unsupervised. Something seems a little off in the Criminal Justice System.


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